Translational asymmetry as a sensitive indicator of cadmium stress in plants: a laboratory test with wild-type and mutant Arabidopsis thaliana


Author for correspondence: Ariadne Tan-Kristanto Tel: +61 3 83449875 Fax: +61 3 94792361. Email: a.tan-kristanto@pgrad.unimelb.


  • Translational and bilateral asymmetry have been proposed as sensitive measures of stress in plants, but few studies have addressed the asymmetry–stress association for individuals grown under strictly defined conditions. Here, we assess the impact of cadmium (Cd) stress on various asymmetry measures in a wild-type and mutant strain of Arabidopsis thaliana.
  • Fitness measures (fresh weight, pod count and shoot length) and developmental stability (DS) measures (bilateral asymmetry and translational asymmetry (TA)) were compared between plants grown under different cadmium concentrations.
  • Cadmium stress sharply increased TA in both strains but had inconsistent effects on bilateral asymmetry. The TA effects were detected at a Cd concentration when effects on growth and reproduction were not yet evident.
  • Translational asymmetry, but not bilateral asymmetry, may therefore act as a sensitive indicator of cadmium stress and could be used to assess soil contamination in transplanted A. thaliana.